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Vaccination rules set to change

— A change will soon take place in the availability of vaccine from the Vaccine for Children (VFC) Program. The VFC program, a federal program that went into effect in 1994, allows providers such as public health, family doctors and health centers, to offer vaccine to children at no cost. As of Oct. 1, children covered through private health insurance plans are not eligible to receive vaccinations through the VFC program if their plans cover immunizations. Families with private insurance plans should contact their health care providers (pediatricians or family doctors) to schedule necessary vaccinations.

Children who are uninsured, underinsured (i.e., enrolled in a health insurance plan that does not cover immunizations), enrolled in Medicaid, Medicaid Managed Care or Child Health Plus, or an American Indian or Alaska Native, are still eligible to receive VFC vaccine from Essex County Public Health.

Even if children have received vaccinations from Essex County Public Health in the past, parents should review their child’s insurance coverage before visiting a county-sponsored immunization clinic. A child’s insurance status will be checked prior to administering vaccinations.

The eligibility criteria were established under Federal guidelines. If a child’s insurance plan does not cover vaccinations, parents can provide documentation to allow their child to receive the appropriate immunizations.

Essex County Public Health is reminding parents to ensure their children receive all necessary vaccinations and to be aware of the eligibility requirements for children to obtain immunizations from a clinic under the Vaccine for Children (VFC) program.

For information about medical providers, insurance resources or to learn more about immunizations and the VFC program, call Essex County Public Health at 873-3500 or visit our website at co.essex.ny.us/PublicHealth.

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